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Mary Ann's Cottage

Photograph of Mary Ann's CottageNear Dunnet
Open June to September - Daily 2.00pm - 4.30pm

150 Years Of Crofting Life - Step into a cottage frozen in time just as Mary Ann left it.

Take the A836 to Dunnet, turn towards Brough and Dunnet Head and at the first junction(100 yards)
KEEP STRAIGHT ON. Where the road bends left to Dwarwick Pier you will see a red roofed barn.
And you are there.

In 1990 just before her 93rd birthday, Mary-Ann Calder moved from her life-long home at Westside Croft, Dunnet to a Wick nursing home.

Her grandfather John Young, had built the cottage in 1850, and the croft was successively worked by him, his son William, and finally his grand-daughter, Mary-Ann and her husband James Calder. Over the three generations the way of life and working practices had continued largely unaltered.

When the time came for Mary-Ann to leave, because of its historic nature she sought to have the croft preserved as it was, and so the Caithness Heritage Trust was formed to acquire it and carry out her wishes.

One Trust member, Professor Alexander Fenton, has written about Westside Croft - "I have known about this croft for a long time. It is in its own right a most important social document. It incorporates in its layout and fittings a natural a natural blend of the old and the new, showing how innovations and more concepts gradually displace or replace the old. In terms of field layout and details like the tethering of animals and the siting of plant-cots for cabbage-propagating on adjacent waste ground, there are rare pointers to older, pre-improvement community system that prevailed throughout much of Scotland. It can be used, therefore, to interpret both the past and the more recent present, especially if it can be preserved with all its contents intact."

Professor Fenton's full length article on Mary's Cottage published in the 1996 Bulletin of Caithness Field Club.
Click Here

The Trust has restored the Croft, as near as possible, to its state when worked by Mary-Ann and James Calder.

Plan of the building

Visitors are taken on a guided tour of the buildings.

Photos of Mary Anns Cottage

News for Mary Ann's Cottage

Would You Like To Help Out At Mary Anns CottageThumbnail for article : Would You Like To Help Out At Mary Anns Cottage
We are almost at the start of our new season at Mary Anne's Cottage in Dunnet.   Recruiting volunteers has become increasingly difficult these last few years, and with the 1st May looming we are realising that we will possibly be struggling this season with who we have; two of our regulars have opted to become ‘standby', meaning they are only able to help on an emergency basis.  
Volunteer At Mary Ann's CottageThumbnail for article : Volunteer At Mary Ann's Cottage
Would you like to help out at the cottage stopped in time?.  
Westside Croft (Mary's Cottage), Caithness
This article was published in the Caithness field club Bulletin Westside Croft (Mary's Cottage), Caithness A Fenton I have known Westside croft at Dunnet Head in Caithness since the 1960s.  Then and in the 1970s, I carried out an examination of the buildings and their contents with the willing help and support of James and Mary-Ann Calder.  

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